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Clinical Nelson crack century in Quad as Wellington College finish third

  • By Adam Julian, in Nelson.

An imperious Nelson College have won the 98th annual Quadrugular (Quad) tournament in postcard conditions in Nelson today. Nelson College won the highest scoring final in the history of the competition and Wellington College edged Whanganui Collegiate in the consolation playoff.

Wellington College: 28 v Whanganui Collegiate: 21

Wellington College withstood a furious rally to win their consolation playoff 28-21 against Whanganui Collegiate.

Whanganui made an encouraging start when silky first-five Noah Ioasa kicked two penalties.

Whanganui was soon struck by an injury crisis with openside flanker Maurice Mow departing and a midfield reshuffle required.

Wellington seized control and turned with a 21-6 advantage at halftime. Lock Harry Law scored a ‘Blues special’ with a thump and crash from short range.

Thankfully the next two tries, each scored by rapidly improving blindside Lafaele Lupo, had more charisma. Lively winger Shea Bosher swerved past his opposite and placed a kick towards the Whanganui in-goal area that resulted in a five-metre scrum from which Lupo profited.

Then Wellington fullback Carisma Faitala supplied a pass, after a 30m break, that saw Lupo complete his double.

Whanganui played with bravery and expansion in the second spell. Back replacements Angus Pearce and Ben Poulton were energetic and elusive while left winger Angus Allpress scored two tries.

Whanganui were as close as 21-16 when substitute hooker Ben Karatau collected a charge down. Wellington openside Ollie Church provided some breathing space but when Allpress scampered clear again, Wellington was forced to dig in. A tackle Law made covering an outside break was inspirational.

In the Wellington pack Sep Hopkins (hooker), George Woodman (lock) and No.8 Z’Kdeus Schwalger grafted honourably. First-five Archie Sims kicked all four conversions and was typically assured.

Wellington College has won 36 of their 65 Quad meetings with Whanganui Collegiate.

Nelson College: 53 v Christ’s College: 35

Nelson College cracked a century for the first time in Quadrangular history enroute to winning the annual tournament for the 25th time outright.

On Monday, Nelson overwhelmed Wellington College 47-0. Today a gallant Christ’s College was outpaced 53-35.

Nelson wasn’t as merciless to Christ’s as they were to Wellington. Christ’s 35 points are the highest score by a losing team in 392 ‘Quad’ matches stretching back to 1925. Christ’s led the game 18-17 at halftime.

The visitors proved stiff opposition for lengthy periods, with pesky disruption at the breakdown, a constructive and robust lineout and a never surrender attitude a marked improvement from their lacklustre showing against Whanganui Collegiate.

However, Christ’s were punished too often for mistakes in their own territory and Nelson proved they can score points in almost every conceivable way. With time almost expired, first-five Harrison Inch retrieved a Christ’s clearance on halfway.

To Inch’s left, imposing blindside, Saumaki Saumaki was roaring for the ball; generating a head of steam to rival that of an out of control locomotive.

Instead of distributing, Inch casually sauntered to the ten metre mark and kicked a 40m drop goal.

Nobody would have been more delighted with that moment than Chris Morris. In 1965 Morris wobbled over a dropped goal to win Nelson the Quad final 15-14 against Wellington College. Morris attended the 2024 addition of the Quad with seven of his teammates from the 1965 side.

Nelson started with the verve of Monday with a try after two minutes. Breaks by winger Michael de Beer and centre Fanua Fa’avae paved the way for openside flanker Kobe Brownlee to muscle over.

Brownlee emulated the feat of Wellington College winger Jacob Kennedy in the 2023 final by scoring a hat-trick. In the second half he went within a whisker of a fourth. Brownlee is rangy, fast and abrasive – a central figure in Nelson’s polished and varied lineout which again provided a plethora of threats.

Hooker Jack Trott rumbled over for two tries while several drives or ‘off the top’ attacks had the visitors scrambling.

Nelson was ahead 12-3 after a dozen minutes when Jimmy West briefly turned into Edwin Moses with a hurdling run to set up Brownlie.

Christ’s surged back into contention with a try to right winger Franklin Barry. It came after remorseless industry from the forwards and a skip pass from first-five Gavin Holder. The pair would rinse and repeat in the second half.

Christ’s fullback Felix Huston got himself in an awful tangle after the ball bounced wickedly. A lineout drive followed, and Nelson scored. In the second half a routine restart catch was botched, and Nelson struck shortly afterward from a quick tap.

Huston redeemed himself late in the first half by finishing a cracking try which traversed 50m and involved a freakish offload by centre PJ Palamo.

When the composed Holder chipped over a penalty to make it 18-17 at halftime there were some gasps of bewilderment from the parochial and expectant home crowd.

Any real uncertainty about the outcome was short-lived when Nelson fullback Kaelan Grafton speared through the defense in a 30m dash two minutes upon the resumption.

From 24-18 the score ballooned to 53-28. Nelson’s whippet right winger Mikey Morrision brought up the half ton with a blistering surge to the right corner. Stubbornly Christ’s had the last say with reserve prop Tom Hazeldine wriggling over.

Christ’s flankers Alf Markham and Frankies Meates were tireless and lock Murphy Dargue switched to the back row and toiled gamely. Loosehead prop Josh Ratulomai made his presence felt with some crashing tackles and bustling carries.

Nelson is a formidable unit with an abundance of personality to complement their earnest execution. Loosehead prop Oliver Kirk sports the American stars and stripes on his head gear. He is affectionately nicknamed ‘Bulldog’ and literally started barking at a heckler in a hilarious exchange.

Nelson’s 53 points was only two points short of the 55 they scored against Christ’s College in the 1997 final. Nelson have won 35 of their 65 matches against Christ’s who suffered their 100th Quad defeat. Nelson has won 93, lost 87 and drawn 16 of their 196 Quad matches.

Nelson has won seven of the last ten Quads, retained the Trustbank Cup (the Ranfurly Shield of South Island Secondary Schools rugby) and remained unbeaten in six matches in the Myles Toyota Premiership.

The record for most points in a Quad belongs to Wellington College who won the 2010 tournament thrashing Whanganui Collegiate (67-12) and Nelson College (36-11).

1997 v Christ’s College – Won: 55-7 The 1997 First XV was a record breaking side. They created records for most wins (29) and most points (1291) in a season. They had 17 representative players, including Kahu Marfell who played for Nelson Bays while still at school. In interschool games Nelson passed the half-century mark nine times, including a record win in the quadrangular final against Christ’s College. Nelson became the first school to score fifty points in the final with a stunning performance. The forwards were relentless, and the backs flourished. Nelson led 22-0 at halftime, and only a penalty try got Christ’s on the score sheet. For Nelson, Michael Kerr (3), Warren Armstrong (2), Callum Taylor and James King were individual try scorers. Christ’s conceded a penalty try as well; New Zealand Schools Representative, Ross Soper kicked five conversions and a penalty.

1965: v Wellington College – Won: 15-14 An “extremely exciting and willing game… played in poor conditions”, saw Nelson rally from a 14-6 deficit to win. Wellington “looked to have the game clinched” until they fumbled a missed penalty kick, in their in-goal area, leading to a try by John Fell, 14-9. Colin Morris then kicked a penalty to make it 14-12, before scrum pressure resulted in a drop goal by Morris, Nelson the winners by one point. Note: Onny Parun was the Wellington College fullback in this game. The New Zealand Tennis champion, who went to school with Keith Quinn, won the Doubles at the 1974 French Open and made the quarter finals of every grand slam in singles. His best result in a Grand Slam was in 1973 when he was beaten by John Newcombe, a 7 times Grand Slam Champion, in four sets in the Australian Open Final. Parun had a 326-301 career record and won 5 singles titles on the ATP tour. The 1965 Nelson College First XV record was: Played: 17, Won: 13, Lost: 3, Drawn: 1, Points For: 346, Points Against: 135.

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